Adobe Audition CS6: Features and reviews

Like some of Adobe’s other apps, Adobe Audition CS6 spent a number of years in the Windows wilderness, with Mac users relying on Apple’s Soundtrack Pro or a third-party music production package such as Logic or Pro Tools to handle the audio editing side of their video production work.

Having returned to the Mac in 2010, the Adobe Audition CS6 app is re-established as part of Creative Suite arid has been updated substantially for CS 6. It can now rightly count itself among the most advanced and fully featured audio editors around - although it's still not 64-bit native on the Mac., a leap Adobe is going to have to make sooner or later to preserve Audition's pro credibility.

As Creative Suite's dedicated audio editing tool, Audition ties in as tightly as you might hope with the other apps in the suite. There's particular emphasis on sending data seamlessly between Audition and Premiere Pro, where film sound needs more treatment than the video software is able to offer. It's also a powerful editing environment in its own right, equipped for creating radio broadcasts, recording music and podcasts, and various other tasks.

Multitrack audio editing and recording are complemented by plug-in effects and HD video support (Mac hardware permitting). What's missing is MIDI tracks and instruments; this is strictly an audio editing environment, not a do-it-all music studio.

The changes in Audition CS6 span a number of areas from workflow to tools, and like the app itself they're mostly aimed at serious users. Top of the new features is Clip Grouping, letting you select multiple clips across tracks in a project, then edit them all together. '[his is particularly useful when combined with the new time stretching tool, enabling tempo stretching of multiple clips by exactly the same amount.

The Trim to Time Selection tool lets you quickly trim clips to match a specific area, handy when editing a soundtrack to fit new edits in a scene. You can now preview how edits will sound before actually making cuts, removing the need to undo if things are awry.

Track effects and settings can be key- framed using envelopes, bringing Audition up to speed with Premiere, After Effects and most digital audio workstations (DAWs). Working with effects dynamically over time greatly enhances their usefulness. Audi (ion helpfully provides multiple clipboards, so you can access different data quickly without being restricted to one item at a time.

Audio stretching is nicely implemented, and clips can be dragged to change their duration using mono or poly modes or Varispeed, which lets you alter pitch as well as time, simulating a tape effect. There's some degradation when you stretch a clip to make it a lot longer, but this is only during preview. Bounce it, or change the stretch mode to Rendered, arid high quality is restored.

An intriguing new feature is Automatic Speech Alignment, designed to match over- dub dialogue quickly with production audio. It analyses the frequency and waveform of' clips and tries to match up the two, even if the production audio has background noise. This will be of enormous help to those working in ADR (automated dialogue replacement), the process of replacing location sound with studio-recorded parts. Clips don't have to be of equal lengths, either.

Although Audition doesn't do MIDI tracks, it can be set up to work with a hardware
MIDI controller for mixing. Options include the Avid Artist series and others that use the Mackie control protocol, which is also supported by some iOS apps.

Pitch control has been improved, with the excellent Spectral Display mode as well as a Multitrack mode providing access to new tools to manipulate pitch. On a more workmanlike level, the Media Browser has been expanded and now shows detailed metadata as well as allowing advanced searching.

A wide rage of video and audio formats is supported for import and export, and files can be burned straight to Red Book format CD, should you have an urge for physical media.

Audition's effects have been expanded to include new tools for tone generation, working with stereo, phase shifting and side chaining in the dynamics plug-ins, in addition to all those you had before. VST3 plug-ins are supported, although we had a bit of trouble getting third-party plug-ins to be recognized. Those working in the industry will appreciate the ability to match volumes to the iTU broadcast loudness standard, as well as enhanced support for improved batch processing, radio automation, and even a built-in metronome.

Audition is a remarkably powerful audio editing environment, and CS6 adds some excellent new features that will undoubtedly appeal to pro users working on film, TV, radio and other projects. The interface still feels a little clinical, but this is a minor issue, given the wealth of tools on offer. It's a bit disappointing that it still isn't 64-bit (which limits performance arid memory use), but this is the most complete audio editing package Adobe has ever created.

Price: £333.60
System Requirements: Needs Multi-core Intel processor OS X 10.6.8
Pro: Powerful audio editing. Time and pitch stretching. Unlimited tracks. CS6 integration
Con: Still not 64-bit. No MIDI track support

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